Action is needed no to solve the problems associated with migrant labour exploitation

By   /   March 9, 2018  /   27 Comments

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In the six years to 2017, there were 11,000 cases of migrant exploitation reported to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Of these only 5700 were investigated and 15o prosecuted. The chances of getting caught and prosecuted for migrant exploitation are infinitesimally small. Exploitative and abusive employers just laugh all the way to the bank.

The new government is allowing itself to slip into the practice of the last government which was to blame the migrant or potential migrant for all the problems the system has.

Horror stories continue of widespread abuse and exploitation of migrant labour.

First some facts.

The government accepts around 40,000 permanent residents each year. This number hasn’t changed much in decades.

Usually, New Zealand had a net loss of residents to Australia of around 20,000 a year so on average there has been a net gain of around 20,000 a year in those living in New Zealand as citizens or permanent residents.

Previous governments increased the number of people able to work in New Zealand on a temporary basis. Numbers trebled from around 40,000 to 120,000 under the previous Labour-led government then increased to 170,000 under the last National-led government.

In part, this increase was a product of liberalising the numbers coming on working holiday visas but was also an essential ingredient in the desire to boost numbers of students studying and working here. Some industries began to use the “skilled” migrant category to import labour from overseas in order to avoid costs associated with the skills training that may be needed or avoid increasing wages by the amount needed to attract labour.

The aged care industry has 21% of its staff on a temporary work visa. The Dairy farm industry has specialised in importing skilled labour from the Philippines.

There are around 130,000 student visa holders studying here currently. Most can also work part time. And students were also promised a full-time work visa for a year or more if they completed their courses successfully. Recent migrant exploitation cases have revealed an interconnected network of employers, dodgy schools and immigration agents preying on the weak and vulnerable. And government policy has facilitated this exploitation.

The export education “industry” employs 33,000 people, injects $4.5 billion a year into the economy and subsidises the public tertiary institutions by a billion dollars a year. About one third of these students are doing courses below degree level.

There is another number which is useful to look at but has little scientific value. That is the number that records the flow of people into and out of the country on a permanent or long-term (PLT) basis. In 2017 this number recorded a net gain of 70,000 people. This number is taken from people filling in a form when they arrive which states their intention of staying for a year or more, and then getting people to fill out another form when they leave with their intention to leave for a year or more. A net number is then produced by subtracting one number from the other to produce a net gain or net loss.

This is the only number that gets reported in the media. The PLT flow number of people’s intentions is treated as scientific fact. I am not aware that anyone has actually done a study on whether people’s intentions actually match reality with any scientific rigour. But that is the number that is usually debated in the media.

The main problem with this number is not the lack of scientific rigour since I assume it roughly corresponds to people’s actual movement. The main problem is that people talk about this number as if it is the same number of that for people being allowed to stay as permanent residents.

Around 2012 the net loss to Australia dropped to zero. At the same time, the government was boosting the temporary visa arrivals for both work and study. So the net PLT gain went from almost zero to 70,000 in the five years to 2017. This unplanned growth became a political target in the elections and Labour promised to reduce that number by 20 to 30,000. Most of the media simply conflated this planned reduction with a desire by Labour to stop all migration. Often, including in the left-wing press, Labour was accused of wanting to eliminate the 40,000 people being allowed into the country as permanent residents each year. That, of course, is simply nonsense. No one in the election actually proposed any change to that number and it was the National party that actually trimmed it back from 45000 to 40000 a year after letting it creep up a bit earlier in their term of government.

What Labour was actually saying was that they would reduce the net PLT flow number by 20-30,000. Since around 250,000 visas are issued each year for students and temporary workers the target could actually be achieved by a modest reduction in the overall number of temporary visas being issued.

Their only concrete proposal was to say they would eliminate the right of students doing sub-degree courses from working while studying or afterwards. This would have led to radical fall in numbers applying for visas for such courses and the probable collapse of many schools offering these courses.

What the National Party didn’t tell people, is that they had actually already introduced policies that would achieve a similar reduction to what Labour was promising.

If anyone had bothered to read the National government’s own Treasury reports before the election they could have seen predictions that the net PLT gain number would be dropping from 70,000 to 20,000 under existing government policies over the next five years.

For example, in 2013 National opened the tap on student numbers from India by reducing the English language requirements to study. Student visa numbers went from 8000 to 26000 in the next two years. The requirements were tightened again in 2015 and the numbers have dropped to 9400 in 2017. In addition, the Australian economy appears to be improving which will start pulling labour across the Tasman again.

When Labour was elected it seems to have realised that its policy was going to be achieved without further restrictions being necessary so it seems to have delayed the plan to stop students in sub-degree courses from working. If such a policy is introduced it should only apply to new students.

One of the criticism’s that Labour has directed at the current policy settings is that the right to work in had encouraged students from sub-degree courses to seek permanent residency. He called it a “back-door” to residency – echoing Treasury language in their audit of the system. But this is a lie designed to deflect blame.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) publicly declared that the study and work visa policy was a “Pathway to Residency”. To blame students for trying to use this pathway is simply unjust.

As it is, only about one in five students are able to transition from study to residency. But because the export education industry depended on this being at least a possibility, it was true that a growing proportion of the “skilled” worker category in the permanent resident approvals was being given to former students. This was not their fault. No one gets residency as of right. All residencies are decided by INZ – without right of appeal against unfair decision making.

Students were brought here under various promises and policy settings and had the rug pulled out from under their feet after they arrived. Many discovered they would never have the right to obtain permanent residence no matter how long they worked here.

INZ also changed the rules on people after they started working or studying here. For many years a manager of a fast-food restaurant could get residency based on their job being skilled. And it is a skilled job. Many students worked part time at the big fast food companies while studying and hoped to use promotions to management as a route to residency. Suddenly, a few years ago we discovered that INZ had unilaterally determined that this job no longer met the requirement for residency. When this happened, I had workers in my office in tears as they explained how they had wasted years of their lives doing jobs they hated only to denied their chance at the last hurdle. At the same time, INZ has maintained the path to residency for managers of retail shops, liquor stores and corner dairies! There is simply no logic.

This group of workers who have already invested years of their life and often tens of thousands of dollars in tuition fees need to have their status changed to allow them to continue working. But they also must be able to escape the servitude and bondage to which they have been forced into by their desperate and vulnerable situation.

I had to represent another of these workers this week. He was an assistant manager at a fast food company. He has worked for the company for eight years and has to renew his visa each year to prove he is needed. He ran the restaurant on his own but they wouldn’t pay him a full manager’s salary. He had complained to his manager that because his salary was too low and because he was working so many hours each week he was actually getting less than the minimum wage. He had also been forced to work at a restaurant for which his visa was not valid. But he put up with it all because he had no choice. His visa was tied to the company. He wife and new-born child also live here with his wife working for the same company.

In the six years to 2017, there were 11,000 cases of migrant exploitation reported to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Of these only 5700 were investigated and 15o prosecuted. The chances of getting caught and prosecuted for migrant exploitation are infinitesimally small. Exploitative and abusive employers just laugh all the way to the bank.

Every audit done by the of the working condition of migrant workers by MBIE has found widespread, often near universal, non-compliance with the law. This was true of the construction companies doing the Christchurch earthquake rebuild. As a consequence, MBIE decided the only way to combat the exploitation was to give workers the right to change employers. That principle needs to be extended to all migrant employees on temporary visas.

We also need to establish a database of “approved” employers. Anyone who wants to employ someone on a temporary visa should have to register with MBIE, show an approved written employment agreement, and go through an approved course in employee rights. These rights should include the obligation to pay all minimum legal entitlements, and that all wages must be put into a bank account with a detailed payment record provided.

We now have a situation where there are several tens of thousands of people who have spent five or ten years of their lives working in New Zealand, often renewing their temporary visas year by year, often in jobs in which their visa is tied to their employer, desperate to stay and willing to do anything to do so. Many spent their entire adulthood living and working in New Zealand and it would be impossible to return to their home countries without inflicting enormous harm Many have started families and have young children for whom New Zealand is their only home.

These workers are actually needed in New Zealand today. They are doing jobs vital to New Zealand society. They could all be given permanent residence tomorrow and the PLT number of 70,000 or whatever it is next year would not increase by a single digit.

The outgoing National government changed the immigration rules just before they left office that would have eliminated any chance of anyone earning less than $23 an hour from being categorised as skilled and would not have been able to work in New Zealand any longer than three years before they had to leave. Nearly every one of the thousands of workers in aged care will have to leave unless there is a sudden radical increase in their wages. INZ has now tweaked that wage number and said a wage of $20.60 is the bar. That is just above the living wage of $20.20.

I want everyone in New Zealand to be paid a living wage. But until the government legislates for that to happen no company can voluntarily pay more than their competitor. That is the nature of capitalism.

Forcing everyone earning less than an arbitrary number to leave the country is just asking for more abusive exploitation to be normalised as these workers look for employment where they have to subsidise their own wage through back-door means.

It makes no sense to send workers on temporary visas home –  many of whom, I repeat, have been here many years and made homes and lives for themselves and their families – and then bring in another group of vulnerable workers on temporary visas to be put into a bonded employment relationship open to exploitation all over again to replace them.

That is simply idiotic.

We need these workers doing these jobs today. It doesn’t matter if they are a cleaner or an aged care assistant. These are all important “skilled” jobs worthy of recognition.

When the National government brought in this policy to remove anyone not above the salary bar automatically when their current visas expired, their dairy farmer mates screamed bloody murder because they were going to lose “their hands”. So an exemption was made that anyone who had been working on a dairy farm for five years could transition to permanent residence.

The same principle actually applies on simple humanitarian grounds to everyone who has now made New Zealand their home.

We could start a register of all workers in regular employment who want to stay permanently. They should be given an emergency work visa with the right to change employers guaranteed.

After a certain period – say five years – if they still want to stay, they should be given permanent residency rights. This group of residents would be on top of whatever regular permanent resident number we have each year which covers family reunification, refugees, and the skilled worker categories.

That would eliminate the worst exploitation almost overnight.

Free all workers from bonded servitude!


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About the author

Mike Treen

National Director of Unite Union


  1. Castro says:

    Aren’t the exploitative and abusive employers migrant themselves? Aren’t many of the exploited parties happy to participate in the “exploitation” because they don’t give a flying fuck about No Zealand, and just want to get PR/ citizenship? It seems that the common problem here is migrants themselves (repeatedly from a small number of particular countries). The solution seems obvious; if the No Zealand government needs to be removed, violently or otherwise, in order to stop the exploitation, primarily of NZ workers competing for accommodation and jobs with the migrant exploiters (both employers and employees), then so be it.

  2. OnceeasTim says:

    This is shameful. NZ now has a very bad reputation in some places overseas and it is well deserved.
    9 years of treating immigration as a business under a business oriented ministry has produced just this result.
    The promises made by Labour are simply not enough to fix the situation.

  3. Michelle says:

    I don’t agree that some of those that have been here for years can’t be sent back we only have to look at what our Aussie mates are doing sending back NZers who have lived most of there lives in Australia. I think some should be allowed to stay depending on there circumstances.
    I noticed we at quick to sent PI home (deport them) the same should happen to others.
    What about the ones that have told porkies to get here and ones that have failed to declare certain things which is just as bad as lying.
    The pension is one area that needs to be sorted and abuse of our public health/hospital systems particularly when I see our Maori and PI whanau being medically neglected. Also temporary means temporary.

  4. Siobhan says:

    Horrors…imagine the fate of Labours beloved ‘Recognised Seasonal Employer’ scheme if these loyal workers were to actually move to NZ permanently and have to support themselves and their families on orchard/vineyard workers wages!

    Suddenly a bin rate for picking that hasn’t increased in over 25 years, despite the higher standard of fruit required, and a minimum wage that doesn’t take into account rain days, and stuffing workers into motel rooms and shipping containers …it all might start looking a bit dodgy..

  5. Johnnybg says:

    Very simple; turn off the migration tap. On the one hand we allow non unionised foreign wage slaves to do the poorly paid jobs us Kiwis aren’t up for. On the other hand we have allowed our civil service, local councils, think tanks, universities, corporations, & media etc to be overrun by wealthy lifestyle immigrants from places such as the UK, US, Canada, South Africa & Asia. This latter group bring their old country ways & memes with them & it is they who’re really shaping our countries future. Are there any Kiwis left in the Met service?

  6. Cassie says:

    NEW ZEALAND fell into “Globalisation” , and began OPENING it’s Borders…
    to…… MASS immigration.


    see LOGICAL Explanation below >>

    if you invite outside Guests to stay with your Family, who you can’t afford to feed & accomodate , but still do so,… at the expense of YOUR OWN FAMILY!

    THUS = an act of betrayal.



    WHILST NZ OWN citizens ARE by TENS of THOUSANDS , now HOMELESS & living in CARS.


    60 THOUSAND IMMIGRANTS from 3rd world EVERY YEAR, for past many years?? TAKING JOBS… or being accommodated by NZ”Welfare”


    I DO NOT BELIEVE in welcoming thousands of others TO THE DETRIMENT of OWN FAMILY .
    In your family , would YOU sacrifice your own children, to accommodate unnecessary outside guests?.


    I DISAGREE with YOUR POST, It is BEYOND what we should be concerned with. IE NZ OWN CITIZENS.

    DISPENSE with Migrant workers..( send back to their own countries)
    =that problem is then solved!

    NOT OUR problem. We got ENOUGH problems of OUR OWN.


    DO YOU THINK that MASS IMMIGRANT’s coming here plight

    • Christine says:

      Cassie, if the immigrants whom NZ entices here, often under false pretenses, are acting to the detriment of your own family, it would be interesting if you could show how.

      I know my old Ma in her 100’s was wonderfully cared for by mainly Samoan and Filippino rest home staff; the hospital system would further collapse without them; few fruit growers could survive without imported pickers- the industry depends on them.

      Spent my primary school holidays fruit picking down south, and if I was exploited, that’s okay, because I needed the money, but not as much as the people we bring in now with false dreams; we use them, then we dump them, and that’s no way to treat a dog – oops – I mean a man.

    • OnceeasTim says:

      Its not an us and them thing.
      You seem to be saying its OK for the NZ govt to allow any old charlatan to misrepresent the situation as an immigration advisor…..not properly monitored.
      OR that the pathetic amount of Labour Inspectors should only manage ‘Kiwi’ jobs.
      If immigrants get exploited, well it’s their own stupid fault for allowing themselves to be bullshitted to by people govt agencies are supposed to monitor AND DIDN’T.
      What’s worse is that MoBIE still encourages any old Tom Dick or Harry to act as an agent and pull a scam till theyre caught…with little consequence. Sham PTEs…sham work schemes…people STILL being bullshitted to by various agents.
      Its true there are immigrants who’ve gained PR who are exploiting immigrants. REMOVE that PR from those doing so instead of the wet bus tickets being doled out at the moment

  7. anon says:

    people with business interests in education and labour importation work at MBIE.

    So do foreign diplomats.

    So do people awarded orders of merit by the government.

    So do people who sit on boards like the ASEAN biz council.

    AZEANZ LINK, etc etc

    • OnceeaTimaaa says:

      Yep… we know they do.
      There are MoBIE employees with exceptionally close relationships to immigration ‘specialists’ who have ‘irons in a number of fires’ (financial and other interests).

      What is bad is that the whole ayatem is a sham.
      What is good is that there are now so many that have been rorted who are on record.
      I’m no lawyer but I know there are mechanisms for some sort if review. The longer that is coming the worse it’ll get ( and probably the more expensive it’ll get)

  8. Mike the Lefty says:

    Its sad that we have industries, predominantly the aged care, horticulture and hospitality industries, that are now so dependant on cheap disposable foreign labour that they are up shit creek without a paddle without it. Their excuse is that New Zealanders are lazy, can’t be bothered to do honest hard work. The most incredible thing about that ignoramus statement is that we have a political party that doesn’t just buy into that, it openly promotes that – I am of course speaking about our worthy National Party.
    Although there will always be exceptions, I don’t think New Zealanders are fundamentally lazy, our modern civilisation is largely based on workers who came over here from Europe to work – and to work hard – with the belief that the hard work would actually benefit themselves, unlike their home districts where hard work only benefitted the country squires and rich industrialist employers.
    New Zealanders will usually work hard if they see their job and industry as worthy, respecting their efforts and treating them as real people instead of simply disposable work units as so often happens now. New Zealanders do not like to be treated like monkeys and paid peanuts – but that is what Bill English and National expect them to put up with and tell them they are lazy ungrateful prats for NOT putting up with it.
    I respect that immigrants want to come here and earn better money than they can earn in their homelands – we would want to do the same if the positions were reversed – but it angers me that we that are constantly fed the myth about lazy New Zealanders to excuse foreign labour exploitation.

  9. savenz says:

    I think it is a scam and migrant workers are exploited during the process (often by other migrants however) but it needs to be stopped and that means stopping the whole scam.

    When they introduced tertiary fees in the 1980’s it was a huge blow to Kiwis living here, but you could just about survive with part time work and then hopefully get a job afterwards while you waited (often a while) while a job in your chosen field came up. Unfortunately that has now gone with migrant workers taking up so many part time and full time jobs that Kiwis used to have while they looked for a job they trained for.

    There seem to be very few part time jobs available for Kiwi born students, all the jobs are now taken up by permanent or temporary migrants.

    The reason that migrants are prefered is that many low wage employeer’s are operating scams such as underpaying people, having poor conditions and overworking people or in some cases making the migrant pay the employer $20,000 for the job or just being paid $2 p/h. Numerous cases have been found of exploitation and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    I don’t blame the migrants (apart from the employers who exploit) but to let it continue unabated is leading to our low wage culture and unemployed youth.

    If migrants hate the job so much in the fast food industry, then clearly once they get residency they will leave and therefore the whole point of them getting residency has gone as they leave the so called skilled industry.

    Kiwis no longer have access to part time work so when they do enter the work force they are unprepared for simple things like punctuality, doing mundane jobs and being paid little for it. etc etc. Therefore Kiwis are not gaining valuable skills about working that only working part time can prepared them for.

    Wages should be at $70,000 or above for any migrant job. They should be above the need for any taxpayer subsidy for wages such as WFF, accomodation or community services card. This should be obvious!

    Also any migrant should have their tax affairs audited at least 3 times in a decade (not by someone who takes bribes aka drivers licensing for the privilege) and that way they can make sure they understand the NZ tax system to pay taxes and are not having to ‘pay back’ the money to their employer.

    The government has allowed a counter culture to build up of mass exploitation and bribes aka drivers licensing, tax fraud and illegal residents.

    It’s time to stop it.

    This not only helps Kiwis, but also the migrants who came to NZ to escape bribery, corruption, exploitation and pollution. You would hope they don’t want NZ to turn into copies of the country they are migrating from as I certainly don’t want NZ to go the same way (which sadly it is going as our government turns a blind eye to the scams).

    • Christine says:

      Of course it’s a scam and we should be outraged that the MBIE either won’t, or can’t do its job properly, and quit blaming the exploited who usually come here in good faith, work very hard, and often, literally, for nothing.

      Further, some Asian families make huge sacrifices to send their students and others here, and whole families have been wrecked because of our shoddy systems and dishonesty and complacency and stupidity and selfishness and greed.

      NZ’ers have traditionally been hard workers – no trouble getting jobs eg in the UK, because of our good work ethic. That our young men are useless layabouts is disproved by our past history; this is a constructed myth emanating from the recently dumped National government, for its own purposes, including the bringing in of offshore workers to keep wages down, while blithely ignoring or denying the effects on our infrastructure, while irresponsibly creating a massive social deficit – and disadvantaging the tangata whenua. Deliberately.

      • savenz says:

        Yes, but if the Asian families are sending their kids here to get residency not a degree or third rate diploma at our ‘quality’ educational institutes then that’s a scam!

        Close the educational scam and allow NZ to produce quality tertiary education in our tertiary sector only – NO – residency and perks of extra years living here to find the ‘job’.

        • OnceeaTimaaa says:

          Agreed it is a scam. Shut down the scammers and you not only reduce immigration but you prevent exploiration.
          Some families are rorted upwards of $30kNZ, WHICH where I am currently is enough to build a modest, but warm dry house.
          Some of the exploited are also trapped, encouraged to stay, or stay illegally in order to try and pay back loans or mortgages for shitty 3rd rate education. In many cases its a big part of their adult life making it difficult for them to start again when they do return home.
          Others are deported and return to heavy debt.
          NZ has allowed them to be lied to and royally ripped off by failures of state agencies.
          Shit for Kiwi workforce and even shittier for the exploited immigrant.
          I’ve yet to see this new government to even acknowledge the failings of govt agencies tho’ I live in hope.

  10. Marc says:

    “In the six years to 2017, there were 11,000 cases of migrant exploitation reported to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Of these only 5700 were investigated and 15o prosecuted. The chances of getting caught and prosecuted for migrant exploitation are infinitesimally small. Exploitative and abusive employers just laugh all the way to the bank.”

    Well, Mike, that may be so in your view, when it comes to migrant exploitation, what would you tell complainants to the Health and Disability Commissioner, who get nowhere, as that Commissioner usually only ‘investigates’ between 2 and maybe a maximum of nine percent of ALL complaints, of which fewer are upheld, and yet fewer ever have any action taken upon a complaint.

    Their Annual Reports reveal the facts, and although some slight improvements appear to have been made over recent years, there are serious concerns about the HDC not acting as a true watchdog, and also about the HPDT:

    So you may lament the ‘low’ numbers of immigration exploitation cases being looked at, perhaps reflect on what complainants to the HDC may feel like.

  11. Marc says:

    Maybe this is all the result of the pressures of ‘globalisation’, ‘free trade’ and so forth. New Zealand competes with other similar countries, where labour is much cheaper than here, that is where agriculture plays an important role in production and exports of products.

    Which other Southern Hemisphere countries are there, producing fruits and so at the same season? For instance South Africa, Chile, Argentina, perhaps Uruguay, Australia is the only country more comparable to us.

    Most these countries have a pool of cheap labour, also often migrants from even poorer neighbouring countries, used to do the hard seasonal work. It is the low pay that allows fruit growers, wine producers and farmers to produce at ‘competitive’ prices, and to export, e.g. to the Northern Hemisphere, where most consumers live, and where they love to have products produced here, that they can only produce during their summer.

    And with rest homes, the hospitality sector, and parts of the health sector, even supermarket retail, most New Zealanders prefer to work in better paid and more attractive jobs. So they employ new migrants, temporary visa holders and so forth.

    So we have what we have, the government providing for this kind of migrant employment scheme, also part of students coming here and being allowed to study. Some are sold the “Kiwi Dream” of getting PR and making their fortunes here.

    What New Zealanders need to ask themselves, do they want immigration in the numbers we have. I ask, do we need to have 40 thousand or more getting PR each year? When there is less outflow to Australia and other places, why still allow so many to come here and get permanent residence, as skilled migrants or whatever kinds of immigrants?

    If we have long term immigration gains at the numbers we have had the last few years, even if this would reduce to 40 thousand a year, that means nearly half a million new residents in ten years, it means 4 million new residents in a century.

    New Zealanders need to look at their society and economy, and make some hard decisions, this continued immigration is making this country increasingly unsustainable, one day we may have to IMPORT food to feed the population, believe it or not.

    If paid a fair and liveable wage, and if those earning well paid more tax in a fairer progressively taxed system, we could all get on well enough, and would perhaps have enough people do all those jobs, and also be more productive. Just a thought, I would offer.

    • Christine says:

      Well said, Marc. Yes, we do indeed need that dialogue, and hopefully the coalition govt will be addressing it properly and not continue with the hitherto slap dash processes. Ideally we should be able to examine and address this country’s needs, and do so without treating anybody at all badly – if there is the political will.

  12. Marc says:

    And what ‘great’ jobs are there, in the ‘booming economy’ here in NZ Inc, WOW, truck drivers paid $18 per hour, shuttle drivers $16 an hour, stock pickers and customer service reps paid around $16 per hour BEFORE TAX, here in Auckland, for jobs near our ‘great’ International Airport, serving as tourism and freight services hub:

    These are some of the ‘skilled jobs’ that people are offered, for heaven’s sake.

    Who the hell can live off such incomes, in AUCKLAND, I ask?

    Is that what employers get away with, even under this ‘new’ government? Do we need immigrants for this, doing law wage jobs???

    • savenz says:

      +1000 MARC – we are spiralling to the bottom of the barrel. The only reason migrants take the jobs at $18 p/h is to get residency – then they leave for a better job like everyone else and if they can’t get one, then they get the dole, working for families, free health care, super etc etc.

      No worries for the industry though, plenty more migrants keen to be employed below liable wages into the scam!

      Our government decided to take the Asian model and get a corrupt, low wage, exploitative culture, with huge inequality.

      They could have gone the Scandinavian way, Skilled German manufacturing, high wages jobs and high worker conditions. Or Norway, Denmark, Finland all with small populations who went high skilled.

      Our dimwits in charge thought low wages to compete with Asia was the future!

      Since that does not work they need to sell off our land and assets and give away free immigration and social services (that local taxpayers have to pay for) along with it then they tell us we are in a rock star economy.

      Then they can’t quite fathom why our schools and hospitals are full while the tax coffers are in decline.

      The rock star economy was on the back of immigration and natural disasters! Both of which spell disaster for the future living conditions of many people in this country.

      We have already gone backwards, from a state house and car to people now living in their car and people’s house now earns more than they do and if you don’t have a house, you’re screwed!

      The economists (suspiciously ex share market types) lament why we are not like the Germans who don’t want to own property when we could give it to them to invest in shares not guaranteed of course – clearly they do not realise that Kiwis have had a succession of idiot government in charge of our future who run up debt and sell as much off of our country that they can get away with, lowers wages and workers conditions because they believe in trickle down exploitation.

      There was a smudge of hope with the new government, but after signing the TPPA , it’s clearly neoliberal business as usual and the trickle down approach.

      Do you want neoliberal business with tax cuts for 2020?

      Or neoliberal business with tax increases for 2020?

      I guess it’s the Green Party if you want any change these days, so I hope they can focus on the bigger picture past “Rare bat on road to recovery’ to a bigger vision of a pristine and prosperous country with much more focus on local sustainability. Some time back, Greens ran a buy NZ made and country of origin campaign, a sign of the times, is that that is probably considered illegal under trades deals now.

      • Marc says:

        Also on SEEK, many jobs in transport and manufacturing only pay $16 to $18, or at the most $20 per hour, or have corresponding ‘salaries’. That is the ‘Brighter Future’ BS NZ Inc has become under National, and we can see little improvement ahead, even under the new government, as business rules and sets the terms:

        Working full time in highly demanding jobs for that here in Auckland, that is madness, it gets you NOWHERE.

  13. OnceeaTimaaa says:

    There’s probably enough instances on record, as well as various admissions by MoBIE officials….numbers of Labour Inspectors, Immig Advisor’s Authority failings, and various other agencies under the aegis of MoBIE for some sort of class action.
    Certainly IWa, unions, a number of legit Immig lawyers have many on record (as do I).
    This is actually a Joyce/Coleman system that’s been working as intendedeen working

    • Christine says:

      Saying that this is a Joyce/Coleman system should not exonerate the odious ringmaster, John Key, whose continued popularity does not reflect well on the calibre of the NZ MSM who have enabled so much of the regression of our once fairly egalitarian society back to Dickensian days, and who do not appear care that many often decent hard-working people struggle day by day to try and keep their heads above water.

  14. Craig H says:

    Stats NZ have identified that there is a gap between intentions recorded on the arrival cards and what actually happens, so have been following up using Customs data of actual movements.

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